Team Australia hoped to get a winning streak going after Tyler Manawaroa secured the Aussie’s their first win over Team Canada in last week’s episode while the Canadians want to get back to dominating the team competition.
Team Canada reeled off three consecutive wins in the first three fights of the season, but Team Australia aren’t willing to go away easy. After gaining matchmaking control, Team Australia coach Kyle Noke decided to pit Richard Walsh against Team Canada’s Matthew Desroches.
Minor Injuries Hit Both Teams
Team Australia’s Dan Kelly has been nursing a knee injury. The four-time Olympian in Judo is used to bumps and bruises, but the coaching staff has noticed.
“Dan’s always got something wrong. His ankle is bothering him. His shoulder is bothering him. His neck bothers him. We tell him, ‘hey Dan, take a rest.’ He gets mad at us, ‘I can do it. I can keep going,” said Coach Noke.
“I’m fine,” said Kelly. “I have an old body so I’m used to bumps and knots and stuff.”
Team Canada’s Sheldon Westcott injured his knee in practice.
“I twisted my knee and I hurt it. And then Elias (Theodorou) fell on it and my knee popped,” explained Westcott.
Team Canada hopes that Westcott will have time to recover before he’s picked to fight.
“You need to be fit to fight and we’re going to keep him for the last middleweight fight if we can have the fight picks,” said Team Canada coach Patrick Cote.
“No matter if I was hurt, no matter if I couldn’t walk, I’m still going to get in the cage,” said Westcott. “This is the UFC. This is the biggest opportunity of my life. It’s Team Canada. There’s nothing that would ever stop me.”
The Fight: Matthew Desroches vs. Richard Walsh
Walsh wasted little time closing the distance and initiating the clinch. They exchange knees to the body while working for position. Midway through the opening round, the fighters separated. Walsh landed a clean combination, but Desroches pressed forward. In the closing seconds of the round, Walsh staggered Desroches with a right hand securing the round.
Desroches picked up the pace and pressure in the second frame. He defended Walsh’s early takedown attempts, but was knocked down by a stiff jab midway through the round. He quickly got back to his feet but was taken down. The judges scored Walsh the winner by unanimous decision. Team Australia is officially on a winning streak.
“There’s been many training sessions and fight nights where I had to drive myself to the weigh-ins in cars with the heater on trying to make weight. Ultimately this is what it’s all for,” said Walsh following his win. “This is just one step closer to the ultimate goal.”
“I’m so disappointed. I should be good enough to get off the cage and work my striking,” said Desroches after the loss. “I was so frustrated to land that one punch because I was starting to get nervous that the time was running out. It just really started throwing my game off more because the more frustrated I was getting, the less skills I was using.”
Team Australia retained matchmaking control with the win and decided to put Dan Kelly against Canadian middleweight Sheldon Westcott.